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Rays notes: Price's dominant outing goes for naught

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 03:06 PM
ST. PETERSBURG -

One pitch.

That's the only thing Rays LHP David Price would change from Sunday's 2-0 loss against the Atlanta Braves at Tropicana Field.

Price (6-3, 2.88 ERA) served up a second-inning solo home run to Braves catcher David Ross. Other than that, he was tremendous.

For the sixth time in nine starts, Price allowed two runs or fewer. For the first time this season, he received zero runs of support. He has worked seven innings or more in each of his past four starts.

"What a great performance,'' Rays 1B Carlos Peña said.

"He battled and he used all of his pitches effectively,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Price, who was trying to become this season's first seven-game winner, was philosophical in assessing the defeat.

"For the most part, we were (pitching) down, threw some stuff over the plate with some movement,'' Price said. "We threw the ball well."

Tweet success for Hellickson

 

Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-0, 2.77 ERA), who starts at home tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays, said he's very content with the season thus far.

"I really like where I'm at,'' Hellickson said. "The fastball command is better than it has been, since I can remember anyway. The curveball is coming along pretty good. I've just got to get ahead of guys and throw strikes."

Hellickson's biggest change is he's now on Twitter — @jhell58 — at Price's urging. It would seem an excellent forum for a soft-spoken pitcher who generally expresses himself in 140 (or fewer) characters anyway.

"I'm still learning how to tweet — period,'' Hellickson said. "It's kind of fast and hard to keep up with. I still have no idea (what it's all about).''

S-Rod on the move

Rays 3B Sean Rodriguez made another outstanding defensive play — actually, they have become routinely outstanding for him — when he dove across the third-base line for a backhand stop, then a perfectly rifled one-hop throw to Peña. It robbed Ross of a fifth-inning hit.

Maddon, though, might be more impressed with his offense. Rodriguez is batting .306 (19-for-62) with seven extra-base hits since May 1, the day Evan Longoria was placed on the 15-day DL. Rodriguez has hit safely in his past 15 starts, the longest streak of his career.

"He's just good, very athletic,'' Maddon said. "It looked like (Ross' ball) was beyond him, but what Sean does never surprises me. The difference is he's having much better at-bats. He's playing at a very high level.''

Noteworthy

CF B.J. Upton, who threw out Atlanta's Martin Prado at second base while trying to leg out a double, has 44 assists since 2007, more than any other center fielder. … The Rays, who were shut out 15 times in 2011, were held scoreless for the first time this season. … Atlanta has won four straight interleague series against the Rays and seven of eight series overall against Tampa Bay. … Retiring Braves INF Chipper Jones, who missed his second straight game after suffering a calf injury Friday night, was saluted in a video tribute following the first inning. Fans gave a standing ovation to Jones, who emerged from the dugout and tipped his cap. … Rays LF Desmond Jennings, due to return this Sunday, and Longoria, who hopes to be back in June, took some batting practice in the cage and looked good. … Braves RHP Tim Hudson, who once played for the Oakland Athletics, is 8-1 against the Rays. … The Rays are 119-134 all-time in interleague play, but 63-48 under Maddon.

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